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College Freshman "Must Have" Guide on Safety


College Freshman "Must Have" Guide on Safety

As you excitedly pack up your worldly possessions and get ready for college life, there is one extremely important thing to remember: YOU are responsible for your own actions - your Mom and Dad won't be there to protect you any more. The choices and behaviors are your own. All the safety measures and stats in the world won’t help you if you’re not making smart personal safety choices. Here are some basic, fundamental tips and ideas to follow. Once you have completed these assignments, you can enjoy your new found freedom and personal safety on campus as you go through your daily, crazy, life.

Essential Gameplan Tips for the New College Student:

1.) Be Camera Shy: It is suggested that freshmen should “respectfully decline” to have a photo and personal information published for distribution to the campus community. Fraternities and upperclassmen have abused this type of publication to “target” naive freshmen.

2.) Get Oriented: Participate in all the orientations the school has to offer. It’s a great way to learn the ins and outs of the campus, quickest routes to class, how the systems work and meet a ton of new friends in the process!

3.) Do A Drive By: Study the campus and neighborhood with respect to routes between your residence and class/activities schedule. Make a mental note of where ‘blue light ‘or emergency phones are located.

4.) Sharing Is Good: Make sure to share a copy of your class/activities schedule with your parents and a network of close friends, effectively creating a type of “buddy” system. Create a network phone list to share with your parents, advisors and close friends. Utilize the Virtual Halo app and suggest that your new "buddy system" do as well so everyone in your group actively watches out for each other.

5.) Program New Digits: Get the number of your local campus and city police departments and program their numbers in your cell phone (dialing 911 in your time of need can first go to a regional monitoring station then to your local police) every second counts when you are in danger.

6.) Run With A Pack: Always travel in groups. Use a shuttle service, taxi or Uber after dark. Never walk alone at night. Avoid “shortcuts” no matter how tired you are after a long day of studying.

7.) Be Your Own P.I.: Survey the campus, academic buildings, residence halls, and other facilities while classes are in session and after dark to see that buildings, walkways, quad-rangles, and parking lots are secured, lit and patrolled. Check to make sure emergency phones, escorts, and shuttle services actually are available, working and adequate.

8.) Cruise The Streets: To gauge the social scene, drive down fraternity row on weekend nights and stroll though the student hangouts (with your pack). Are people behaving responsibly, or does the situation seem reckless and potentially dangerous? Remember, alcohol and /or drug abuse is involved in about ninety percent of campus crime. Carefully evaluate off-campus student apartment complexes and fraternity houses if you plan to live off-campus.

9.) Eastside Walk It Out, Westside Walk It Out: No matter where you are on or off Campus you must always be aware of your surroundings. The more you are familiar with the area the less you become a target for criminals. Remember: Criminals look for the easiest target-that is generally someone who preoccupied, unsure and generally unaware of who or what is around them. Always walk with confidence and know where you are going, be sure to have that Safety Chick Swagger.

10.) Heads UP: Keep your mobile phone in your pocket so you can stay alert! With your head down, you become an easier target to criminals. Walking with purpose and determination are your friends.

New Kids On The Block: Remember if you are in a new town, it is filled with strangers. Be aware when you and your new ‘roomie’ go to Wal-Mart or Target for your matching bedding and stuff, be aware of the strangers around you. Criminals in college towns look for the “newbie’s” to victimize. Be sure no one is following you back to your dorm or apartment. If you feel that someone is following you, make a turn on the next street then another turn (essentially making a circle back to the street you were on). If the car or person is still following you, drive to the nearest police station or well-lit gas station and go inside for help - or dial 911 and stay moving on a well-lit highly trafficked street until help arrives, while also sending an SOS from Virtual Halo if you're in a stationary location and can't move.

Share this info with as many students as possible! Have fun and always remember to make SMART personal safety choices!

Reprinted in part from


Preparing For College Checklist


Preparing For College Checklist

Congratulations, you’re officially a college freshman! This is both an exciting and daunting transition for most students. Help take some of the edge off and start your first year with confidence by doing these 7 things before college starts:

Schedule your campus tour. You can show up and walk around on your own, but scheduling a tour gives will give you more insight into the different areas of campus and what you can expect on your first day. Avoid not knowing how to get to your dorms or your first class and make sure this “to-do” is a priority. While you’re exploring campus, make sure you note where the emergency points and security office are.

Improve your reading skills. Consistent reading not only increases your speed, it helps you process what you’re reading faster. If your freshman English professor hasn’t already assigned summer reading, get your hands on the syllabus or recommended reading list and see how many books you can knock out before the first day of college.

Start networking early. If you haven’t already, consider joining LinkedIn. It’s never too early to start building connections and working your way up to that awesome internship or part-time job. Connect with classmates, friends, and even your professors.

Download time-management and study apps. Make managing college life easy with a little help from your smartphone. From note-taking and citation assistance to time-monitoring and collaborative learning apps, there are a plethora of options available that can make your first year at college a breeze. See a recommended list here and here.

Put together a budget. It’s easy to get carried away with money in college, especially with food, shopping, and weekend trips with friends. Start putting together a budget by analyzing how much money you will need each month for food, gas (if you will have a car on campus), clothes, etc. As much as possible try to stick to this budget – it will help with your financial and prioritization skills down the road.

Prepare for life in a new city. Personal security is important. Stay alert, build a "buddy network" of roomates and new friends where you watch out for one another. Download and use the Virtual Halo app amongst your friends, it will help you check in with each other when you're supposed to, or send out an SOS if you get into an emergency and your buddy's will know where you're at.

Get to know your professors. Show initiative and willingness to participate by developing a relationship with your professor before school starts. As the year goes on, they might also be willing to act as your mentor and guide you through challenging coursework and college life. Remember to be respectful and sincere when contacting them.

Participate in orientation activities. Orientation is a crucial time to start making friends, researching clubs and organizations, and getting to know your campus environment. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to ask questions and get involved.

Reprinted from